We’ve just finished our semester in 1 Thessalonians. I was excited to study this book with some sisters-in-Christ; and am not so sure my heart is ready to move on yet. This morning, I read through those five beautiful chapters again, remembering what the Spirit had been teaching me, remembering the beautiful lessons on hope, and “excelling still more,” and having steadfast faith–faith that comes out in works and is a witness far and wide…
Oh what a rich book. A book that helps us develop a full Christology: recognizing Jesus as God’s Son, as LORD, as Savior, and as fully God. A book that highlights the work of the Spirit in bringing the gospel to our dead hearts, transforming us, and filling us with hope. A book that reminds us of His power. In an era in which the Trinity is an appendix, rather than the heart of our understanding of who God is, 1 Thessalonians is a breath of fresh air, Paul wrote as though his audience loved the Trinity. This is also a book that reminds us to love what God loves, to desire the purity He wants us to aspire to, and to see “possessing our vessel in honor” as an outworking of walking with Jesus (rather than seeing it as ‘legalism’).
This epistle has encouraged us all especially with the call to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you…” 1 Thessalonians 4:11. You can see the study on that verse here. But think, beloved, what peace floods your soul as you realize our true ambition is not to strive with all our might to lead a life that the world deems “amazing.” That will leave us all weary and wounded. We enjoy His peace and joy, as we lead the ‘normal’ life He’s given us, as we attend to the day-to-day affairs, cultivating faithfulness, knowing it can all be done to His glory. In that sort of life there is room to be neighborly, to be flexible enough for ‘divine appointments’ and to walk with Jesus at His pace.
It will be a lovely thing to spend the next few months, solidifying these lessons by abiding in these words still, and praying through them.
Oh LORD, draw us further into this life of faith, hope, and love…oh that we would walk with You in works of faith, labors of love, and steadfastness of hope! Knowing Your choice of us! Thank You for sending the gospel, and working it into our hearts by Your Spirit! We have turned toward You, and marvel at Your beauty. We will wait for Your Son from Heaven–whom You raised from the dead! Your power is unmatched!!!
There is much opposition in this life. Yet Your word is not stifled! May we not be fooled by those who speak eloquently, or by way of impurity, or through deceit. We are easily swayed…”sanctify us in Your truth, Your word is truth [John 17].”
As we witness to Your truth, and contend for the faith, may we be like Paul who could say he “devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly behaved” toward them. May we learn to encourage and exhort with such parental passion. Thank You, for calling us into Your kingdom and glory!!! Oh, we can cease striving after our own glory, for You call us into YOURS!!!!
The hope we have is a shared hope, a corporate hope; help us to think this way, to know the joy and beauty of this corporate hope. O That we will share this joy together at Christ’s coming!!!
May we humbly receive the workings of our elders in our lives. When Paul sent Timothy to check on their faith, they were not offended. O LORD! Raise up elders like Paul and Timothy in all of the local bodies! O, that we as the body would appreciate them, and esteem them highly, and in love. Work in our hearts to keep us all teachable, moldable, being made by Your Spirit through Your means, into the image of Christ.
May you cause us to increase and abound in love for one another! That we would excel still more and more until You take us home.
As we have received instruction, give us the grace to walk in it! Give us the desire to walk, and to excel still more. Your will includes our sanctification, even specifically knowing how to posses our bodies in sanctification and honor. In a culture that says ‘anything goes, you do you…’ teach us to delight in Your standards, Your statutes, Your designs. May we not reject “the God who gives His Holy Spirit to” us!
As You give us each day our daily bread, help us also to make it our ambition to live that day to Your glory. O that we would make it our ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to our own business and work, so that we would behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. Teach us to meet pressing needs within in the Body [Titus 3].
We do not need to know times or epochs, but will rest assured that Your plans for our future, and our hope, are good! And will come to pass in Your perfect timing! And we will not fear ‘missing out’! Help us to comfort one another in our grief, as loved ones face death; help us to remember all that You’ve taught about that day. O that we would be found being faithful stewards! That we would stand firm, in the armor You’ve given us! Knowing, that we will live together with You.
We are so selfish. Help us to put this off, and be concerned for one another. That we would encourage one another and build one another up. Build our fellowship, may it be sweet and pure and full of life-giving words! Give us wisdom to know when we ought to admonish, to encourage, to help. O that we would be patient with all our brethren!
You have told us to rejoice always, to pray without ceasing. What a blessing, to converse with You always, in unbroken fellowship. I know You will lead us in this. Walking with You, one day at a time, one moment at a time…abiding in You.
Your Spirit is indeed at work, in us, in our local body. May we not quench the Spirit! We will examine everything carefully–if it is in accordance with Your Word we will love it! If the teaching is contrary we will abstain; will not give it a place in our fellowship. Give us understanding, LORD, as we face so many voices–we want to only listen to faithful teachers.
You have called us, and You will bring our sanctification to pass! We praise You for Your many promises, and Your great power toward us who believe!